People, Culture and Inclusion

The Power of Podcasts.


The Power of Podcasts.

Smartphone with headphones and a cup of coffee on a table

It’s 8am and I’m in my kitchen. The smell of freshly-brewed coffee permeates the air. I prop up my iPad on the kitchen counter and load up the next podcast episode. It’s going to be a good one, I can tell.

As a kid I always loved listening to the radio. My parents would have music playing constantly. Mum loves Motown, for Dad it has to be Rock. But each Sunday we would tune into BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs. Listening to other’s stories, discovering something new and different kept me gripped. I believe, in those moments, I really learnt to listen.

Today I listen to podcasts regularly. Not every day, but certainly each week. I have my old faithfuls that I keep returning too, plus new ones I discover all the time. There’s something I find very comforting in just sitting and listening to another voice, or voices. Particularly now.

I like to listen to them in the morning, while enjoying my coffee. I try to tune out distractions and focus on the podcast. It’s time I use to consciously slow down, reflect and learn. It’s a way I feel connected to another person without staring at a screen.

I close my eyes and just focus on what is being said. Be it something funny that helps take my mind away from what’s stressing me. Or something new to learn. Or something I already knew but had forgotten or that I just needed reaffirming. It all helps me. Connects me. Develops me. Comforts me.

Granted, podcasts aren’t everyone’s cup of tea. But if you can give them a fair shot, I think you’ll be surprised. There’s all sorts of ones out there, covering all kinds of subjects from cooking and lifestyle to history, comedy, the arts and everything in between.

I don’t dare presume to tell you what podcasts you should listen to as it’s about what you are interested in. So instead I’m happy to share with you what I am listening to at the moment:

No Such Thing as a Fish

I am a massive fan of QI – not only is the programme funny, but I learn so much from it. The QI elves share their most interesting facts in this weekly podcast. If you want to be amused and learn some random things, I encourage you to check this one out – if you don’t already.

TED Talks Daily

I love a good TED talk – and these daily podcasts means I can get my regular fix of inspiration and challenge my thinking. This week they have also started doing live interviews as part of their new Ted Connects – Community and Hope. I found their recent interview (‘Why Sleep Matters Now More than Ever | Matt Walker’) really interesting.

Checking in with Susan David

This is a newly discovered podcast that I have just started listening to. Susan David is a psychologist at Harvard Medical School and, in this podcast, she offers support and strategies to help us face these challenging times. I am finding her voice fills me with a sense of calm and I am inspired by her personal stories.

The Infinite Monkey Cage

I was never very good at science but I always wanted to be. This podcast series is amusing and manages to break down scientific concepts in a way that I can understand – which is no mean feat. 

CCCU Public Lecture Series

There have been a number of University public lectures that I was never able to get to. Luckily they have been captured in podcast-form so I am now working my way back through them. Wonderful stuff!

Beyond Busy

This podcast series is created by Graham Allcott of Think Productive – the mind behind How to Be a Productivity Ninja. His special guests share their thoughts on productivity and work/life balance. Although the podcasts are on the longer-side, I like to listen out for any pearls of wisdom that can help me sharpen my productivity tools.

What podcasts are you listening to right now?

Zoe Connell, Organisational and People Development

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